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Biography of Eminent Individuals, whether of their own or of foreign countries, and in some instances, from early attention, they have by months outstripped their contemporaries. Their exertions have been unabated, and they may add, proportionably successful, in the other departments of Political Economy, Voyages and Travels, Topography, and Antiquities. With respect to the last, they have bestowed considerable research, particularly upon the antiquities of literature, both by the review of new illustrative and criti. cal volumes, and by the monthly insertion of a distinct article under the title of Bibliotheca Antiqua, devoted to the examination of valuable and curious works, the neglected or forgotten labours of our forefathers.
Having therefore now, they trust, succeeded in establishing a new and respectable character for the CRITICAL REVIEW, the Proprietors will proceed with undiminished ardour in the course they have adopted.
Art. I.-Cours d'Economie Politique, ou Exposition des
Principes qui déterminent la prospérité des Nations. Ouorage qui a servi à l'instruction de leurs Altesses Impériales, les Grands-Ducs Nicolas et Michel. Par Henri STORCH, Conseiller d'Etat, et Chevalier de l'Ordre de Ste, Anne, Instituteur de LL. AA. 11. &c. &c. St. Petersbourg, Pluchart et Comp. 1815. 6 tomes, 8vo. It is not unusual, when any old subject has been more fully and clearly illustrated, or when any new subject has been systematically and luminously unfolded, to find that a great many intelligent writers are willing to follow the steps of those who have thus taken the proper direction; and such was the situation of things, when Adam Smith reduced to a distinct science that branch of ethics which has been denominated Political Economy. Among the exotic productions which have been transplanted from this stock, many of our readers will be acquainted with the Traité d'Economie Politique, par Jean-Batiste Say; La Richesse Commerciale, ou Principes d'Economie Politique appliqués à la Legislation du Commerce, par J. C. L. Simonde; Grandsätze der National Economie, von L. H. Jacob; National-Economie, von Julius Grafen von Soden; Neue Grundlegung der Staatswirtlischaftskunst, von G. Hufeland; and the Staatswirthschaft, von Ch. J. Kraus. · Among these works, our author is principally indebted to Say and Simonde, and he has also acknowledged his obligations to Stewart and Hume, Ivernois and Turgot. To Adam Smith, the parent of all just reasoning on this inquiry, he attributes much of his own instruction ; but he has not blindly followed even this able leader.
“ J'ai profité,” he says, “ des découvertes faites après lui; j'ai consulté ses commentateurs, j'ai écouté ses critiques; enfin j'ai pesé moi-même, autant que j'en suis capable, chacun de ses principes, chacune de ses assertions. Le lecteur instruit s'apercevra qu'il est des points où je m'éloigne du sentiment de ce grand écrivain ; plusieurs de ses opinions, mëme fondamentales, ne me paroissent pas avoir le degré d'évidence qu'il semble leur attribuer : je leur ai opposé les doutes que l'étude et l'expérience mont fournis.” (p.iv.)
This work is dedicated to the two Grand. Dukes of Russia, Nicholas and Michael, the brothers of the Emperor Alexander; to whom the author was tutor, and the subject was explained to them in a course of lectures,-a didactic form which is here preserved. M. Storch seems to be aware that, on account of his connection with the Imperial family, it might be supposed that he was not perfectly open as to the particular situation and policy of the country to which his theory is applied; but he tells us, that he felt the deepest conviction of the necessity of disclosing the truth to the Princes under his care, whose opinions were likely to have such a powerful influence on the senti. ments of the Russian people. He adds,
“ Ma conscience me rend le témoignage de n'avoir point négligé ce devoir sacré que ma place m'impoisoit; mais j'ai fait tous mes efforts pour le concilier avec le respect dû aux institutions sociales de mon pays. En publiant ces leçons, j'ai senti la nécessité d'une plus grande réserve encore: bien des choses étoient bonnes à dire à mes élèves qui ne convenoient pas à l'impression. Dans un pays monarchique et chez un peuple fortement attaché à ses habitudes nationales, l'écrivain a des ménagemens à garder, s'il ne veut pas nuire à la cause de la raison au lieu de lui être utile. Cette considération cependant ne m'a pas fait renoncer à l'indépendance de mes opinions : j'aurois plutôt abandonné la publication de mon livre. Aussi je ne doute guère que le public ne s'en aperçoive, et qu'un ouvrage de la nature de celui-ci, muni de l'approbation de la Censure et publié aux fraix de l’EMPEREUR, ne soit regardé comme un beau témoignage en faveur des principes libéraux qui dirigent le gouvernement de Russie sous le règne éclairé d’ALEXANDRE." (p. ix-xi.)
· The present is the first production of the kind that has issued from a Russian press, or that has been applied di. rectly to the condition of that great empire ; so that, at least it would have novelty in the application, if not in the principles; and the situation of Russia is so different from that of the other nations of Europe, that in this view only the labours of M. Storch are no trifling addition to the science of political economy. It was not sufficient to see it illustrated in its reference to polished countries; for its more perfect developement, it is expedient to consider it in its relations to all classes of human beings, under every variation of climate, and under every degree on the scale of civilization.
The preliminary discourse affords a general outline of the different branches of the science of government, in order that the author might explain to his pupils the particular ramification to which political economy belongs, and to shew its relation to other matters of state directly or indirectly connected with it. Into this part of the subject are introduced a great variety of definitions and illustrations, a few of which we might be inclined to dispute, if they were more iminediately concerned with the inquiry before us, and our objection would be, in some respects, both to the sentiment and the language. The author then inquires into the origin and nature of value, and on this subject he lays it down indisputable, that the opinion our judgment forms as to the utility of things, constitutes their value, and converts them into effects. Adam Smith takes a distin ction between value in use and value in exchange, which is directly opposed to the theory of M. Storch. " The things,” says the former, .“ which have the greatest value in use, have frequently
little or no value in exchange; and, on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange, have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water, but it will purchase scarce any thing; scarce any thing can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use, but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange
Adam Smith further inquires, what is the real measure of this exchangeable value, or wherein consists the real price of all commodities; and grounded on the preceding remarks as to the value in use or exchange, instead of attributing value or price to the opinion of utility, he ascribes it to labour. For the sake of clearness, we will quote the whole passage.
* Smith's Wealth of Nations, book i. chap.iv.
“ The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose up on other people. What is bought with money or with goods, is purchased by labour, as much as what we acquire by the toil of our own body. That money, or those goods, indeed, save us this toil. They contain the value of a certain quantity of labour which we exchange for what is supposed at the time to contain the value of an equal quantity. Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased; and its value, to those who possess it, and who want to exchange it for some new productions, is precisely equal to the quantity of labour which it can enable them to purchase or como mand."*
In opposition to this doctrine, M. Storch argues in the following manner:
“ Dans ce systéme, comme dans celui des Economistes, le principe productif des richesses est encore censé être la source et la mesure de leur valeur. Les Economistes, comme nous l'avons vu, prétendent que les richesses ne tiennent leur valeur que de la matière; Smith soutient qu'elles ne la doivent qu'au trarail. Chez les uns la valeur échangeable d'un objet matériel se mesure lur la quantité de matières brutes que le possesseur peut se procurer par son échange: chez l'autre, la valeur échangeable d'un pareil objet est égal à la quantité de travail que cet objet met en état d'acheter ou de commander. N'est-ce pas également confondre l'origine des choses qui peuvent avoir une valeur, avec l'origine de la valeur que ces choses peuvent avoir ? La nature et le travail sont très-incontestablement les sources des richesses; mais pour cela ils ne sont pas encore les sources de leur valeur. Les richesses ont de la valeur, non parce qu'elles contiennent de la matière ou qu'elles sont le fruit du travail, mais parce qu'elles sont utiles et que leur utilité est reconnue. Si les sources des choses matérielles étoient en même tems les sources de leur valeur, toutes les choses de cette espèce auroient infailliblement de la valeur, et leur valeur se mesureroit toujours sur la quantité de matière ou de travail qu'elles contiennent: cependant nous voyons une infinité de choses matérielles qui u'ont nulle-part de la valeur; nous en voyons qui ont de la valeur dans telle contrée, et qui n'en ont point dans telle autre ; celles méme dont la valeur est le plus universellement reconnue, diffèrent dans les degrés de valeur, non-seulement dans les différens lieux, mais encore dans le même endroit en differens tems.” (p. 140-142, vol. i.)
* Smith's Wealth of Nations, book i. chap, v.
The distinction in two words is this : Adam Smith says, labour is productive, because (pasque) it produces what is valuable; and M. Storch says, that it is productive when (lors) it produces what is valuable. It is not, the latter says, that a thing is valuable because it costs a certain portion of labour, but because the produce of that labour is useful, and is ackpowledged to be so.
There is some logical absurdity in these propositions, which will be very readily detected; but the general subject of the work is much too important to allow us to confine ourselves to the technical trammels of minute and scholastic criticism. It is the less important to descend to it, as the author allows almost every thing Adam Smith would require; for he says, if labour be a pain, nobody will submit to it but with the view of reward in proportion to the labour. Labour, then, will be constantly directed to valuable purposes; and, therefore, labour and opinion may be indifferently considered as the source of value. It is true that he subsequently takes a distinction, to shew opinion to be the cause, and labour to be the effect; but this difference is rather in form than in substance, and leaves the reasoning on much the same ground.
The general plan of the work of M. Storch may be stated in a few words, comprehensive as the system is which this scheme is intended to develope. The whole is divided into eight books: the first treats of the production of wealth ; the second of its accumulation; the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, of its distribution, including circulation, money and credit; the seventh explains the laws of consumption; and the eighth resumes all the fundamental principles laid down in the preceding divisions, and supplies an historic view of the natural progress of the wealth of nations. Such is the project; and the author lays it down as a great and solemn truth necessarily connected with all the principles of political economy, (and that in his instructions to the family of the Autocrat of all the Russias,) that security must be the basis of public prosperity; and that this security can alone be obtained by personal freedom and the inviolability of all property; “ Sans la sûreté, point de richesse, point de civilisation?”
It will be impossible for us to follow the author over the immense field he has occupied during his progress through this work, but it is important that the differences should be stated between him and Adam Smith, for the elucidation of some inquiries in which the utility of political science is